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Workshop 4:
27th November 2009
Leeds Metropolitan University »
Prof. Dave Webb and Dr. Steve Wright
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Workshop 4: Securing the State: Securing the Corporate Nexus

The Coming Militarization of Climate Change

leeds27 November 2009
9:30am - 5:00pm
The Rosebowl, 408
Leeds Metropolitan University


Workshop 4 in the series held at Leeds Met explored the military and corporate responses to climate change and mass migration.

The Coming Militarization of Climate Change workshop brought together key researchers on new military crowd control, surveillance and space technologies.

Organised by Dr Steve Wright and Professor Dave Webb from the Praxis Centre - an affiliated research centre of Applied Global Ethics - the workshop explored the rapid advancement of military technologies in light of the imminent Copenhagen conference in December 2009, which will bring together the world's leading scientific experts in climate change, and its consequences.

The Copenhagen conference is rich in the number of technical issues covered including migration. However, what is less explored is how states will respond if told they could be facing over a billion people being forced to migrate if the world's temperature rises by more than three degrees.

The Coming Militarization of Climate Change workshop, therefore, examined how the current revolution in military affairs has financed a new generation of weapons and control technologies in the 'war against terror', and how these will become rapidly reoriented toward area denial and for border exclusion purposes.

Further background

This workshop seeks to extend the discussion of workshop 3 by exploring more fully not only the thinking behind ‘securing the state’ and its interest but also how already existing technologies of control and surveillance may be utilised, or further developed as climate emergency spreads. In particular this workshop will be concerned with two aspects of this subject. Firstly, it seeks to plot by way of examples, precedents, and evidence of current military R&D, how relationships between big government and the corporate sector are likely to develop to safeguard and, or perpetuate state and/or corporate interests for ‘business as usual’, even as climate crisis gathers pace.  Secondly, and more exactly, we will be seeking to pick up on the question posed in workshop 1 as to whether this crisis will lead to a new ‘security’ paradigm. Can we expect a new intensification of control and surveillance mechanisms in the face of likely mass environmental refugee flows at and beyond borders?  Is the emerging doctrine of MOUT (‘Military Operations in Urbanised Terrain’) likely to undergo a further metamorphosis?  What will be the impact of climate change on R&D associated with WMD as well as on the strategic planning and deployment of a potential new generation of nuclear, including possibly space, weaponry?  In turn will this sort of thinking be complicated, yet at the same time amplified by, the building of a new generation of nuclear power stations?  We will finally in this session pose a more general question. Is a perpetuated and enhanced Military Industrial Complex (albeit in all its complexities) likely to be an aspect of a climate changed world which is beneficial to the sustenance and security of the common weal, or an added threat to it? Or posed another way, is it as likely to be as much, if not more part of the problem, as part of the solution?


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